62nd Airlift Wing in Africa

By Tech. Sgt. Timothy Chacon, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs on June 30, 2016

LIBREVILLE, Gabon (Africa) - Delivering a Global Response Force is something the airmen of the 62nd Airlift Wing practice regularly, but up until now that response force has never been brought to the African continent like it was for exercise Central Accord 2016.

From June 10-24 in and around Libreville, Gabon, on the Western coast of Africa, nearly 1,000 participants from 14 countries participated in a command post and field exercise that replicated a peacekeeping scenario in the Central African Republic.

The exercise focused on combined arms maneuvering during peacetime operations and aimed to increase medical logistical capacity through aeromedical evacuation and field medical support.

The 62nd AW's role was to deliver U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, French, and Gabonese paratroopers to the exercise drop zones. The 82nd AD soldiers were picked up from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and flown across the Atlantic, stopping in Senegal, Africa, to refuel and swap out aircrews that were pre-positioned to ensure continuous movements of the aircraft.

"Our participation in Central Accord really showed our joint capability with the 82nd Airborne Division and our ability to deploy forces from the states to support any kind of operations," said Lt. Col. Brian Smith, 62nd AW Central Accord mission commander. "We demonstrated our ability to rapidly deploy a GRF anywhere in the world. We departed Pope and 17 hours later we were able to deliver the 82nd to their objective, on time."

In total, the 62nd AW air-dropped 294 paratroopers, 134 82nd AD, 109 Gabonese and 51 French paratroopers. Along with participating in the air drops with jumpers, the 82nd also acted in an advisory and instructor role for the French and Gabonese jumpers, providing jump masters and safeties on each flight and pass.

"During three days of air drops our McChord C-17s were able to precisely drop all troops on target, on time and with zero injuries," said Smith. "This allows the ground forces' commanders to have exactly what they need to meet their follow-on objectives."